This could describe many churches in Rockdale County. However, the people that attend this church proudly live at Lakeview Estates, a community of mobile homes.
Rockdale Baptist and Heritage Hills Baptist consider this their mission church. Deacon Frank Mann, an elder at Rockdale Baptist Church, explained, "My wife Pat and I have been involved since the very beginning, about 13 years," along with volunteer Libby Gunter. Pat Mann's passion for this community initially got the ball rolling on the church's outreach activites, according to her daugther Cathy Mann.
Much has changed over the years in Lakeview. More families have moved in and some estimate that there are now at least 500 trailers. Although they may not have as much as other Rockdale residents, many of the people who live in the trailer park celebrate a strong sense of community pride.
Rockdale Baptist's Lakeview Estates ministry has grown. More than 20 volunteers now work a rotating schedule to serve approximately 90 people who attend services.
"So many kids come," said Leanne German, a volunteer from Rockdale Baptist and a counselor at J.H. House. Other churches come out with vans and take the families to services elsewhere. "I like this church because it's here," said German.
German said that the site's three buildings stay very busy. Since many of the parents don't have their own transportation (volunteers try to help shuttle residents back and forth to needed meetings and appointments) the buildings are used for functions that the parents might otherwise have to miss. During the county school system's parent and teacher conferences, the trailers were used to hold parent and teacher conferences. The buildings have also been used for Girl Scout meetings.
Leanne's mom, Miriam German, boasts that many of the youth at Lakeview‘s church are A and B honor roll students.
Jimmy Butterworth, a driver of one of the church vans, said he really enjoys seeing how people's lives have changed. "When you see someone accept Christ as their Lord and savior, it just brings me to tears."
Elder Tim Oliver said the church is always looking for help, such as van drivers, Sunday school teachers and ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages) teachers. ESOL classes used to be held at Lakeview. Oliver hopes this will resume soon. For now, volunteers are also needed to drive people out to Rockdale County High School to take ESOL classes.
When it comes down to raising money for this ministry, Mann is not bashful because, "I'm not asking for me, I'm asking for them," he said. For Mann, it's personal. He knows most, if not all, of the people at Lakeview Estates. "I personally try to get out there and meet everyone. I've been here longer than anyone else."
Donors who wish to contribute to Rockdale Baptist's benevolence fund can contact Mann at 770-483-1611.